HIIT: Effective or Just a Fad?
There has been a recent surge in the number of adherents to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), due in part to the rise of fitness gurus showing off their jaw-dropping bodies on social media. But is HIIT the promising weight and fat loss regimen as it purports itself to be?
What is HIIT?
First off, let’s talk about HIIT. HIIT is an intense workout that combines several short bursts of cardiovascular, strength, and resistance exercises in one session. It is a kind of exercise that focuses on quality rather than quantity, as each session only lasts up to a maximum of 20-30 minutes. A typical workout combines sets of lunges, one-minute sprints, and box jumps, and then having to repeat all these for three more sets or until fail.
The difference of HIIT with cardiovascular and strength exercises is that it focuses on challenging the body and putting it out of its comfort zone. Unlike with traditional aerobics where you don’t allow yourself to go over your maximum capacity, you use all your effort and energy in performing HIIT exercises. HIIT exercises do not go over 30 minutes unlike with traditional exercise, where doing it for at least one hour seems to be the norm.
HIIT has been touted as a fast and efficient weight loss routine that can help you jumpstart your fitness journey, or help you lose the last five stubborn pounds. There is no doubt as to its efficacy since it helps you get out of your routine. The intense and frequent change can help your body get out of its comfortable zone.
Words of Caution
But anyone shouldn’t jump into HIIT so easily and impulsively. You should check for your fitness levels and state of health before signing up for HIIT exercises. Before starting with the routine, you should get yourself checked for possible cardiac, kidney, endocrine, and adrenal conditions that you may have or may be vulnerable to.
You must also be in a pretty good shape when you start the program, and by “good shape,” this means you can run for at least one hour without problems, and you are pretty fit with your cardiovascular health. If over 50 years old, you should have your doctor’s approval since HIIT is a very intensive exercise and extra caution must be taken. If you have knee problems, you should steer away from this exercise since HIIT can be particularly bad on the knees with lots of jumps, squats, and robust foot-to-floor contact.
Is HIIT Effective?
HIIT is an effective weight loss routine only if you are physically prepared for it. The benefits can backfire if you have underlying medical conditions or if you are not fit enough for it can cause physical and physiological injuries. Also, this exercise cannot cover up for bad eating habits. You should first focus on building a healthy diet before embarking on any exercise because you must never find training as an excuse for you to eat more or to eat crap. If you can build healthy eating habits and then move your fitness from there, then you will have good foundations for your weight loss journey.